Resource:

Ten ways Imprivata Cortext adds HIPAA compliance to text messaging

HIPAA compliance can be compromised if healthcare providers send PHI over unsecure text messaging infrastructures. Learn how Imprivata Cortext can add compliance.


resource thumbnailHealthcare is not immune to the ‘consumerization of IT’ that’s happening in other industries. Physicians, laboratory technicians, nurses and other care providers bring their own smart phones to work, just like everyone else. Accustomed to convenient text messaging in their personal lives, many want to use the same text messaging for work-related, clinical communications that may contain protected health information (PHI).

Texting has many benefits as a communications medium: it’s immediate but doesn’t demand the real-time interruption of a phone call. With everyone carrying a cell phone, it’s readily available. Text messaging has many benefits in the healthcare environment. For example, pharmacists can clarify prescriptions with the prescribing physician, or nurses can confirm discharge instructions with physicians quickly and efficiently through text messaging. And of course physicians can consult with others quickly and easily. Texting has the potential to streamline clinical communications in healthcare.

But HIPAA compliance can be compromised if healthcare providers send PHI over unsecure text messaging infrastructures. Serious concerns over HIPAA compliance keep many organizations from endorsing or supporting text messaging for care providers, or force them to put policy restrictions around it.

While the HIPAA security rules do not explicitly mention text messaging, they do require covered entities to protect access to PHI in electronic systems. This would include the servers used to deliver text messages and the devices (personal or otherwise) that send and receive PHI. From a compliance perspective, covered entities (hospitals) must ensure that any PHI sent and received by its providers is adequately protected. Unfortunately, consumer-focused text messaging does not have the necessary protections to comply with HIPAA protections for PHI.

Read this article to learn how the AHA endorsed Imprivata Secure Messaging solution enables HIPAA compliance.